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Known more for its luxury accommodation, Jamaica has only a handful of budget one-star hotels, but if you know where to look, you can find a bargain. Most of Jamaica’s one-star hotels are in the major resort towns of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, which put you in the heart of the action rather than by the beach.
Staying in one of Montego Bay’s one-star hotels will give you taste of the real Jamaica and a chance to see how the local population lives. But for a price, you can also enjoy a day pass to some of the top-notch beach-side hotels on the north coast if you’re feeling flush.
For a budget beach day, ask at your one-star hotel where the best public beaches are – where the locals go – for a livelier and more authentic Jamaican beach experience. Instead of the facilities that the private beaches offer, such as bathrooms and changing rooms, the public beaches promise plenty of fun at the local beach bars and jerk chicken joints.
From your one-star hotel in Montego Bay, head to local favourite Dump Up Beach, a manmade beach created by the Jamaican government. It’s a great spot for strolling, swimming or sunbathing or even joining in a game of beach football with the locals. The beach also holds regular live music concerts, so make sure ask around to find out when they’ll be on.
Further down the coast, next to the Aqua Sol Theme Park is the Old Hospital Beach and park (also known as One Man Beach), which is popular with locals for weddings. Enjoy a day on a tropical beach under the shade of coconut palms and almond trees. It also has a great park for kids.
The last free-access beach in Montego Bay is Sunset Beach, a great place to watch the day come to a close over a beer in the lively sports bar or from a rented pedalo before heading back for a comfy sleep at your one-star hotel in Montego Bay.